Riverdale senior Ryan Beasley signed to continue his baseball career at Concordia College in Selma, Ala. Thursday afternoon at Riverdale High School.
Beasley led the the Raiders with a .419 average, 15 RBIs and 20 stolen bases as a senior this season, and becomes the first Raider to sign a baseball scholarship during coach Brian Paige’s three-year tenure.
“It’s good,” said Paige. “I’ve been here three years and my first year we didn’t have any seniors. Last year, we did have some seniors but they didn’t have that particular talent to go on to the next level. Now they actually get a chance to see what they see all the time in other sports, that you have a person within your program that can do the same thing.”
Beasley said he chose Concordia over Clarke Atlanta and Morehouse because of the connection he made with the program during a visit.
“I chose Concordia because I actually went there,” said Beasley. “I went there and saw the scenery. My coach told me that as far as education, they were at the top of Alabama. As far as the baseball team goes, I liked the field and I liked the coach. It just felt like a home.”
Concordia College competes in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, and has several players from the metro Atlanta area already on its roster. Beasley said he has no issues leaving the state for college, and believes Concordia provides a happy medium in terms of location.
“When I thought about college my first thought was out of state,” he said. “I wanted to go out of state. Concordia was perfect because it was out of state, but it’s three hours away. It wasn’t that far. I could still get back.”
Beasley has always shown top-notch athletic ability, whether on the diamond or on the football field. Still, his mental maturity over the last few seasons allowed him to take his game to the next level and ultimately earn a scholarship.
“When I actually took over this particular job and everything, he had started the year before,” said Paige. “He came back as a returning starter. You saw the talent and everything, but you also saw the growth that he needed to go through to get better. Over the years, you saw the growth and he learned that the maturity had to come from being mentally prepared as opposed to being physically prepared.”
Beasley, who gave up football later in his career to focus on his budding baseball ability, was thrilled to have chosen a sport in which he could excel enough to achieve a lifelong dream of earning an athletic scholarship.
“I didn’t even know baseball could go this far until I was in middle school,” he said. “Just signing after being seven years old and starting off and coming all this way, it’s tremendous.”